Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Capitals Practice Recap

As I arrived to the Kettler Capitals Iceplex around 10:40 am, about 20 minutes before practice was scheduled to begin, Brian Pothier, Brian Muir, and John Erskine were on the ice participating in conditioning drills. They looked as though they were moving around fairly well. Muir and Erskine would stay out for half of the team practice, while Pothier returned to the locker room before practice began.

(Photo by Allen Popels/

The lines for today remained as usual:

Red - Ovechkin, Zubrus, Clark, plus Beech
Teal - Pettinger, Gordon, Zednik
Black - Semin, Laich, Fehr, plus Bradley
Yellow - Brashear, Sutherby, Clymer, plus Muir and Erskine
White - Green, Jurcina, Nycholat, Schultz, Eminger, and Heward
Goaltenders - Kolzig, Johnson

Shaone Morrisonn was the only regular not at practice today. No word as to why.

Frederic Cassivi was also missing from practice, meaning he was probably sent down to Hershey for their home game tonight against the Portland Pirates. He could always be recalled again before Thursday's game with the Kings.

Practice started today with a simple dump and chase defensive drill where the object was to collect the loose puck and clear the zone. This was followed by an off the boards outlet drill that led to breakaway opportunities on goal. There were a couple variations to this drill that included cross ice outlet passes. The emphasis of the beginning of the practice seemed to be speed, as players were skating at full tempo.

Three on ones followed and the ice was divided in half to limit the breakout to only half the ice. During this drill Matt Bradley had a nice goal beating Brent Johnson with a glove side shot that rang off the post and in.

A three on two drill was next that involved a quick counter attack by the forward line following a turnover at center ice. The drill really was a five on two situation as a defensive pair backed up the forward line.

The last team drill of the practice involved a two on one drill that started from the offensive corner. Quick moves and passes were the key here to beat the one defenseman and get a shot away. The drill seemed to end on a little 22 on 0 as the entire team bunched around the net. The guys looked as though they were having a good time there.

As some players started to leave the ice, Johnson and Kolzig got in some work. On one side of the ice there was a rapid fire drill where each player shot five pucks consecutively on Johnson. And on the other side, Kolzig was involved in a drill where there was a shot from the slot while about four other players crowded around the net. The play would continue until either they scored or Kolzig secured the puck.

Brent Johnson seemed to be getting through practice okay until these extra drills. He really looked like he was hurting and would spent lots of time keeled over and shaking his head. We all know the Caps unwillingness to disclose injuries as they described Johnson's current injury as a "body" injury. From the way he was laboring though, my guess would be that it's a groin problem.

That's all from today. Tarik El-Bashir of the Washington Post was on hand as was Capitals General Manager George McPhee.

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